Narrative research and the challenge of accumulating knowledge

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Narrative research has produced an array of richly-detailed expositions of life as lived, well-interpreted studies full of nuance and insight that befit the complexity of human lives. This paper inquires into the necessity and possibilities of amalgamation of knowledge obtained through narrative research. As narrative studies, with their accompanying interpretations, accumulate, how do we “add them up?” What would a meta-analysis of narrative studies look like? The challenge that confronts us is how assimilate narrative understanding at a conceptual level in a way that does not return to a modernist frame, treating the various research reports as “facts” — but rather to treat them as situated interpretations. Conversation is offered as a metaphor and context within which knowledge is to be understood.


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